There are so many different aspects that go into dog training let alone running your own business. For me, there were many struggles along the way from the minute I began my journey until now. This blog is about when I first started in this business, the struggles of a new dog trainer and tips on how I overcame them.
I started training dogs at a young age. After hiring a company to train my own dog, and they in turn hired me to work for them. They taught me the trade. This was my first introduction to the field of dog training. It wasn’t until many years later that I decided to start my own dog training business. After working in different fields, my heart just kept pulling me back to dogs. So I finally took the plunge and started my own company.
Struggles of a New Dog Trainer #️⃣1️⃣ – How do I afford to live while I’m building this business?
I was lucky in that I did not have any major responsibilities at the time such as a family to care for, but I still needed to support myself. I got a part time job working from 9-3 and then I trained dogs at night and on the weekends. This is a great way to start because a majority of your business is going to happen at night and on weekends.
Struggles of a New Dog Trainer #️⃣2️⃣ – Getting the word out.
It doesn’t take a ton of money to begin this business, but it definitely helps if you can afford to have someone build a decent website for you. The internet is the way people shop and research when they are looking for help. You need to have an online presence. But understand, even with a website, getting up in the search engines takes time.
You will most likely not get a ton of business flowing in from the internet when you first launch your site. Especially since you will not have any reviews yet. The way I found to get around this was going into veterinarian offices to introduce myself. I gave them gifts such as dog treat containers or pens. Stuff that they need and use. I even offered to train one of the employee’s dogs for free so they can see exactly what I do. This warms people right up. Don’t focus only on the veterinarian. The receptionists refer just as many clients, if not more than the veterinarian.
I also hung-up signs wherever there was a cork board that allowed for advertising and I went into local pet stores to give out cards. It’s a hustle in the beginning, you need to fight to get your name out there. Once you do, ask for reviews from the clients that you get. Reviews are key to your long-term success.
Struggles of a New Dog Trainer #️⃣3️⃣ – Confidence
I just didn’t have the experience and the skill that I felt I needed. I did train under a few trainers, but going at it on my own was a whole different experience. I had to overcome nerves and anxiety. I had to make sure I knew what to say and how to handle different and unique situations. Check out ISCDT’s blog on Imposter Syndrome.
I just kept telling myself that everyone starts somewhere and that with the knowledge I have, I should definitely share it to benefit others. According to confidence coach, Steve Errey, you must remember that we are all people and your clients are people too. Every one of us has once been new at something. There were mistakes and failures along the way. I still remember certain cases where I either struggled or completely messed up. But slowly, my confidence increased. This leads to struggle number four. . .
Struggles of a New Dog Trainer #️⃣4️⃣ – Don’t take it personally.
I am very passionate about what I do and I put my heart into my business. I still struggle with this one. People are not always going to like you or like what you do. You can not control this. You can only do the best you can. I’ve gotten better at this over the years and hands-on experience is what has done that for me.
Struggles of a New Dog Trainer #️⃣5️⃣ Lack of experience
Dogs are living beings and no two cases are the same. There is just no way to know everything when you start out. You may not be comfortable with every method and you may come across dogs that downright scare you. If you can find another dog trainer in your area that is willing to help in the way of advice or just someone to bounce ideas off of that would be a big help. Your mentors at ISCDT are always willing to help you.
If you are considering a career in dog training, ISCDT offers an online program featuring 18 hands-on lessons where students are required to work with dogs. Skill and ability is determined through a series of videos and short written homework that is submitted to your personal ISCDT mentor. ISCDT also offers a one or two-week in-person Shadow program. These programs allow students to assist trainers working in the field. To learn more about the courses we offer, visit ISCDT.com